Sometimes, doing the right thing doesn't always mean it's the nice thing. Many of these things can be either scolding someone for doing something that is either stupid or wrong, physically harming another for seemingly in the verge of losing control of himself, or criticizing someone's abilities just to motivate them to do better. After doing the deed, there's an uncomfortable feeling inside the character, and that feeling is regret for doing what he needs to do.
Let's say that little Timmy is misbehaving badly, or did something he knows he isn't supposed to do. The parent steps in and give him a harsh scolding or even an old-fashioned spanking. As soon as the parent is finished disciplining him, the parent feels guilty, asking themselves "Am I being too hard on him?" Another character, usually the parent's friend, will respond by either criticizing him and arguing that they could've been more lenient with their child or assure them they really are doing the right thing, and it's the only way little Timmy will learn. Sometimes, it can be the other way around with the friend asking the parent the aforementioned question. Either way, it's undeniable that the hardest thing parents must do is to discipline their children.
Using this trope, it can vary between a character who feels bad for scolding or punishing another character in a way that is far more excessive than usual and when they feel bad for scolding or punishing them in a manner that is appropriate.
While very common in parent/child relationships, it can involve two siblings, two friends, or a romantic couple. This can often be a part of a Break-Up/Make-Up Scenario if reconciliation is always optional, but if not, then the relationship will harden and may be broken. This may cause the audience to sympathize with either the character who is doing the scolding or even the one who was scolded.
Compare Minor Insult Meltdown which is where the victim being punished will fall into this. Also compare My God, What Have I Done? where the action was reprehensible and is not justified, but the character regrets it. A rather lighter version of Dirty Business. See also Jerkass Realization and Made Out to Be a Jerkass.
May be Alas, Poor Villain if taken to extremes. A nice guy who had his buttons pushed may experience this. Can be Truth in Television for some parents who don't feel comfortable in punishing their children. This is often the reaction to a child being The Runaway. A very suitable reaction of the Pushover Parents if they punish their children for the first time ever. Can be why Being Good Sucks.
- Doubles with Poor Communication Kills in Asteroid in Love. When Mira asks her sister Misa to opine on the article she wrote for the Earth Sciences Club's newsletter, what Misa actually means is it is a bit boring and too fact-intensive for a general-interest piece. The way she phrases it, though, can be read as the article is bland and generic. Mira is so upset that she runs back to her room, at which point Misa slumps on the sofa, face down, because of this.
- In Bokurano Isao Kako's older sister is fairly harsh with him, often criticizing him for his attitude, and in a dream sequence, gives him a scathing "The Reason You Suck" Speech calling him an egotistical coward who feels better about himself by looking down on Kirie. Toward the end of the manga, she realizes that he tried to run away from his battle, thereby causing collateral damage, and asks Ushiro and Machi not to hate Isao, saying that he would have lived a normal life, albeit making some mistakes along the way, if he hadn't entered the contract.
"I think maybe I was too hard on him. Maybe I should have accepted him the way he was. I just wanted to make him see how foolish he was to look down on Kirie-kun."
- Doraemon: Occurs in "Soap Bubbles". After Mr. S gets hit with the Soap Bubble Straw, he feels like he's too hard on Noby and that he doesn't understand what Noby goes through.
- Dragon Ball Z: Before dying to save Gohan from an attack from Nappa, Piccolo apologizes to Gohan for being so tough on him in the Training from Hell.
- In one episode of Naruto, Sakura felt this way about Naruto after attacking or berating him whenever he does something thickheaded or annoying. After complaining about Naruto's immaturity, only to have Sasuke tell her that Naruto's that way because he doesn't have parents and she can't possibly understand, Sakura wonders if she's been unfairly judgmental on Naruto.
- In Hayate the Combat Butler, Hayate is in a pinch (as always) this time needed a team to do a dungeon crawl to get his job back and naturally goes to Hinagiku first (as always). She's still pretty upset at him exploiting her fear of heights during the marathon race the day before to take them both out of the race so Nagi could win (which she didn't, thus why he had to do the dungeon crawl) and gives him a really hard time. After he bolts without even asking for her help, she starts to feel bad and notes that it looked like he might have had something serious to tell her so she winds up getting worried and going to help anyway.
- It also proves important to Hina's character arc as even she didn't know why she was being so hard on him for something so minor and why it bothered her so much, eventually realizing that she was in love with him and in immense denial due to trauma from her past after a pretty long period where she would give Hayate the cold shoulder only to regret being so hard on him and try to make up for it.
- In New Game!, Umiko's first scene has her informing Aoba that the NPCs Aoba modeled have errors, and telling her that she should have checked for them (something that Kou had failed to tell Aoba to do). It's a reasonable lecture, but Umiko takes it a bit too far by, among other things, snidely remarking that graphics designers are only concerned about appearances. After Aoba fixes the bugs, Umiko apologizes and gives Aoba a spent shotgun shell as an Apology Gift.
- Aiko asks this of herself in Mo~tto! Ojamajo Doremi after she calls out Momoko for accidentally getting Hana sick. Doremi replies she would have said the same thing. Later on, Aiko apologizes via an audio message from Mimi.
- In Turning Over A New Bayleef, Ash's Bayleef kept constantly hugging and tackling Ash, and he ends up yelling at her for it. After Bayleef runs away, Ash realizes that his Pokemon went missing and decided to look for her. While looking for Bayleef, Ash wonders why she ran away but Misty helped him realize that he was the one who told her to "go away and stay away" from him. Hearing this, Ash regrets for being so rough on Bayleef. He later finds Bayleef and tries to apologize, but she refuses to go back to him. However, Bayleef realized that Ash truly was sorry for yelling at her and forgave him.
- In Seeing the Forest for the Trees!, after losing his Gym battle for his last badge in Kalos, Ash snaps at Serena who was trying to cheer him up. Serena gets angry with Ash and calls him out for not acting like his usual self, even going as far as to throw snowballs at him. However, Serena ends up feeling guilty for snapping at Ash, knowing that he was already in a bad mood and believing that she only ended up making things worse. Although, the two ultimately reconcile at the end of the episode, with Ash admitting that Serena snapped some sense into him.
- Pretty Cure:
- HappinessCharge Pretty Cure!: Iona Hikawa/Cure Fortune, also a My God, What Have I Done?. She spends the whole first half scolding and being mean non-stop to Hime/Cure Princess for her Dark Secret of opening Axia and freeing the Phantom Empire, which led to the downfall of her older sister, Maria Hikawa, A.K.A. Cure Tender, declaring she would never forgive her for it, even going as far as trying to turn Megumi and Yuko against her to team up with her. Then she recieves a good dose of Break the Badass (at the cost of a set of powers.), coupled with an Awful Truth behind Cure Tender's fall. Later, after that , when she learns why Hime opened Axia, she regrets being hard to her when she tried to tell her many times and she apologizes to her for it.
- Suite Pretty Cure ♪: In episode 6, where is introduced Souta Minamino, the Annoying Younger Sibling of Kanade Minamino/Cure Rhythm, both silblings spend most of the episode bickering, while, unknown to each other, care for each other, with Kanade always scolding Souta, even for the smallest things, and also saying hurtful stuff, despite her bestie Hibiki's objections. One day, Souta was making cupcakes as a White Day Present for her. (a idea suggested by Hibiki) When Kanade came back to school, she sees the mess in the kitchen, she assumes the worst, and snaps at him for it, thinking he was only fooling around and refusing to listen to his explanation that he only did it because he was making cupcakes for her, and said hurtful things that he is no good at all. This affected Souta so much he screams at her he hates her and walk out on her. Hibiki then gives her a piece of her mind over her treatment of Souta and even admited she is envious of Kanade having a younger sibling while she is an only child. Souta being targeted by Siren and Trio the Minor, even her powers waning because of Souta saying hurtful stuff about her, spouting his true feelings about her, both served as an eye-opener for her, as Kanade comes to regret being so hard at Souta and to a lesser extent Hibiki when they both tried to tell her he is not bad as he seemed, but they were both shamed from talking. This leads Rhythm to tell him her reasoning about her constant scolding to him and she apologizes to him for not believing his noble intentions and of course being rough with him and accept his present for her. He forgives her.
- In Sand Chronicles, Ann's grandma Misayo blames herself for her daughter's suicide, regretting that she had scolded her not long beforehand to "get a hold of [her]self" when she really meant to tell her to do her best.
- Your Lie in April:
- Kousei's abusive mother, also a My God, What Have I Done?. In episode 13, we get a look at the situation from Hiroko's point of view and despite the numerous instances of abuse she put Kousei through, Saki loved Kousei and only wanted to make sure that Kousei would be able to move on after she was gone. Her last moments in the hospital were spent lamenting that she wasn't a better mother to him and that she hoped that "her treasure would find happiness."
- In a way, Kaori towards Kousei. In the posthumous letter she wrote to Kousei, she tells him how much she loves him and that she was sorry for being so mean to him and hitting him.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!, after seeing his brother under Noah's control, Kaiba thought to himself that he might have been too hard on Mokuba and stride to make amends with him by getting him back to senses, which work.
- In Bitterness, Shining Armor, Princess Celestia, and Twilight's friends feel this way after Twilight cuts off ties with them for their actions at the wedding rehearsal (as opposed to quickly forgiving them like in canon).
- In the Thomas & Friends fanfic The Brother's Grimm, after constantly yelling at the Grumpy Passenger, then arranging to have him rendered homeless and penniless, David wonders if he was too harsh and aggressive with the other man.
- In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Snaggers Keepers", Empath ponders this when he gets Nabby to look for the lost meditational stone of his friend Polaris Psyche instead of looking for it himself. Smurfette tells him that he shouldn't think he was being that when Nabby needs to know where the line must be drawn when it comes to taking things that don't belong to him.
- Evangelion 303: Misato chews Asuka and Mari out for starting a private duel during an important training mission. Although the berating was deserved, Asuka's self-confidence is very fragile, -it shattered once after another reprimand- and Misato wondered later if she had not been too hard on the girl and if she should smooth things over with her.
- In The Longingverse, Rainbow Spectrum wonders this after he tells Rainbow Dash that she will never become a Wonderbolt. By the time he goes to apologize, she had ran away to Cloudsdale.
- Loved and Lost: Well before Jewelius reveals his true colors to her, Twilight is remorseful over disowning and lashing out at her dishonored loved ones, feeling like she took her resentment over the wedding rehearsal too far. She expresses to Jewelius that she wants to apologize for being too harsh on them and forgive them for hurting her, convinced that her friends have been punished enough and have learned their lesson.
- Weight Off Your Shoulder: Tikki wanted to mold Marinette into an Ideal Heroine, and constantly scolded her whenever she made any mistakes or got distracted by problems in her civilian life. This wore down Marinette's self-esteem to the point that she became convinced she was nothing but a Failure Hero, spurring her to give up her Guardianship (along with all her related memories) and pass the Earrings on to another. Said successor proves to be just what Tikki wanted: somebody so singularly devoted to being a hero that she has nothing beyond being Ladybug. This spurs Tikki having a Jerkass Realization about demanding too much of her holders.
- In The Brave Little Toaster, when the Air Conditioner mocks Toaster and the other appliances' hopes that their master, Rob, would come back for them, Toaster accuses him of being jealous because Rob never played with him due to not being able to reach his controls. This unfortunately sends Air Conditioner into a rant-induged rage which results in him blowing out. Afterwards, Toaster feels bad, as he didn't expect A.C to take the remark so personal.
- Finding Nemo: Marlin comes to regret the stifling way he raised his son Nemo in the first film. He feels similarly about Dory in the sequel.
- In The Good Dinosaur, Arlo's papa Henry is frustrated that his son freed a pest that kept eating their crops. He urges him hard to get through a windy pass in an attempt to help him get through his fears. But when Arlo gets injured on the job, Henry's frustration turns to concern, and he apologizes for pushing him too hard.
- The Jungle Book 2: Mowgli's adoptive father shouts at Mowgli for crossing the river, even though he was told not to, with the village kids and confined him to his room without dinner. Later that night, Baloo takes Mowgli back to the jungle and Shanti follows them thinking Baloo kidnapped the man-cub while Ranjan, Mowgli's adoptive brother, follows her. The adults in the village were too busy getting Shere Khan out of the village and after they kicked the tiger out, they found out the children ran into the jungle and go there to look for them. Mowgli's adoptive father, the next day, feels remorse and guilty saying he was "too harsh" on Mowgli. His wife assures them that they'll find the children and they continue searching.
- In Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure, after Scamp runs away, Tramp worries that his son ran away because he scolded him for thinking like a wild dog.
- The Little Mermaid: King Triton dwells over this after scolding Ariel (while Sebastian believes he wasn't hard enough). He also thinks this after destroying her secret grotto filled with human treasures. To be fair, he did go overboard with the latter, especially since it leads to her running away and making a deal with Ursula.
- The Land Before Time:
- The Time of the Great Giving has Topps realizing he had been too harsh with Cera by yelling at her out of concern for her safety, after witnessing Hyp's father berating his son.
- In Invasion of the Tinysauruses, after Littlefoot has to owe up to his lie in knocking out all the tree-sweets and blaming the tiny-longnecks for it, nearly all of his friends tell him off before turning their backs on him, driving him away. They end up in tearful remorse over it, after accusing each other of being mean to Littlefoot. Cera (the only one of the Gang who didn't push away Littlefootnote ) then shows up and, upon hearing what they did, suggests they go find Littlefoot and apologize to him.
Petrie: Me no believe you talk to Littlefoot like that! You so, so mean!
Ducky: (scoffs in disgust) You were the one who made him the saddest! Yep, yep, yep!
(Spike is shocked and then grunts in agreement)
Petrie: (utterly taken aback) Me not want to make Littlefoot sad! (starts crying) Me want to teach Littlefoot not to lie!
Ducky: (also starts crying) I did too!
(Spike also starts crying)
- In The Great Day of the Flyers, Petrie's siblings get mad at him for constantly messing up their practice for their flying test, which prompts their mother and, later, Guido to step in and tell them not to be so hard on Petrie.
- Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted: Alex, Marty, Gloria, and Melman decide to track down the penguins and chimps, thinking that they had abandoned them in Africa despite planning to come back for them. As part of an elaborate plan to confront them, Alex decides that step 1 is meeting them, step 2 is to give them hell for abandoning them, and step 3 is to realize that they were too hard on them and apologize. The plan ends up going off the rails, and Alex accidentally skips to step 3 when they meet them. Skipper accepts the apology without question, and orders his men to move out. Alex angrily realizes that he told them he was sorry without chewing them out first.
- In Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas , Mickey sends Pluto to his doghouse after his attempt to put the star on the Christmas tree ended up with all of Mickey's decorations destroyed. Later, when Mickey fixes everything, he begins to feel bad for how he yelled at him and goes to the doghouse to apologize, only to find that Pluto had run away.
- In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games, Sunset becomes enraged at Human Twilight for her dangerous magical experiments, but after seeing her running off crying, she realizes she went too far.
- The Prince of Egypt: Moses asks Seti if he was too harsh on Rameses by calling him a weak link who will bring Egypt to shame, just after Moses took responsibility for goading Rameses on in their chariot race. Seti responds that he needs to be hard on Rameses: He's the future king, so he can't afford to be careless.
- God actually has a moment like this. When He appears to Moses in the burning bush and tells him to go to free his people from Egypt, Moses tries to argue with God that he's not good enough for the job. God eventually raises His voice with Moses, while making the fire of the burning bush flare up brightly. Seeing how frightened this makes Moses, God takes on a much softer, more comforting tone, and assures him that He will be with him every step of the way.
- The Wild: Right when Samson yells at Ryan for costing them the game out of "jealousy" that he couldn't roar, Ryan flinches. Samson sees this and apologizes, but Ryan says he wishes his father really wasn't his father.
- In Avengers: Endgame, Nebula is the first to deduce that Thanos really has destroyed the Infinity Stones, based on the fact that she knows him well enough to know that, for all his faults, he'd never willingly tell a lie. At this, Thanos (helplessly at the mercy of the Avengers) looks at her with what appears to be genuine pride, and he begins to tell her how he may have been to hard on her, but is interrupted by Thor.
- Referenced in the following joke, which was done in the Talent Show portion of Revenge of the Nerds, intended as a Double Entendre:
Guy #1: What's the dirtiest thing ever said on TV?
Guy #2: I don't know, what's the dirtiest thing ever said on TV?
Guy #1: "Ward, I think you were a little hard on the Beaver last night."
- In Cats & Dogs: Revenge Of Kitty Galore, after Diggs messes up the mission majorly, Butch chews him out on his behavior and kicks him off the team. When he and Seamus search for clues later, Butch admits that he had been a little too harsh on Diggs.
- In The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Aslan asks how Edmund could have betrayed his siblings by joining the White Witch. Peter invokes this trope. "It's my fault. I was too hard on him." Susan joins him, saying that "We all were."
- Elf: After Buddy's repeated insults against Miles Finch cause the latter to angrily storm out, Walter gets extremely angry, before bluntly (and loudly) yelling at Buddy to "Get out of my life, NOW!" The film then cuts to a montage of Buddy believing that nobody appreciates him, and he has no place in the world. Meanwhile, Walter is sulking, feeling absolutely horrible for losing his temper and taking it out on Buddy.
- When Alan returns to the real world after being lost in Jumanji for 26 years, he discovers that his father gave up everything he had to find him, especially because the last thing he said to him was a threat to send him to boarding school just for not wanting to go. Sure enough, when Alan undoes the magic and returns to his original time and age, his father comes to apologize and say that he doesn't have to go if he doesn't want to.
- When Peter is turned into a monkey after trying to cheat at the game, Alan calls him out on it, yelling "You got problems, you face it like a man!". When he notices Peter taking it pretty hard, he catches himself, realizing he just said the exact same thing his father told him when he tried to hide from Billy Jessup and his gang, and apologizes.
Alan: Twenty-six years buried in the deepest, darkest jungle... and I still became my father.
- In Lady Bird, while she never actually says it, Marion's face just screams this as she drives away from the airport, with Lady Bird headed for New York.
- In A Brother's Price, after Corelle is severely punished for not staying at the farm to protect her brother, and the punishment is so severe that the siblings pity her, the family decides that she should be one of those who get to accompany Jerin to the capital. This is a treat, and it is said that they want to give her a chance to prove that she has learnt from experience.
- Discworld: In Men at Arms, Vetinari regularly pushes all of Vimes's buttons by pretending to be an Corrupt Politician to spur him into working harder on the current criminal case, recognizing that Vimes is exactly the sort of policeman who will investigate anything he's told to stay away from. He judges Vimes's emotional state from the dents he makes punching the wall as he leaves. However, in their final conversation, he threatens to fire Vimes and announces that he will be dismantling the Night Watch; this effectively breaks Vimes, who at this stage has no identity outside his work as a policeman, and he proceeds to go on a drunken binge and abandons the case altogether. It isn't until Vetinari is speaking with Leonard later on that he remembers Vimes didn't punch the wall as he left, and admits to Leonard that he went way too far this time.
- Divergent: After he is swayed to take part in the plan to kill her, Al desperately tries to apologize to Tris, only for her to rebuff it by saying that if he comes near her again, she'll kill him. He then commits suicide by jumping into a ravine, leading Tris to wonder if she was too hard on him.
- In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, McGonagall thinks she was too hard on Peter Pettigrew during his school days, due to the fact that he went on to die a heroically foolish death. Or so she thinks.
- The Last Dogs: Dark Waters: After being separated from Max and Gizmo, Rocky ends up fine at a zoo, eating with Barbs the hyena. Max starts snapping at Rocky for making them worry and accuses him of forgetting his friends. But after Gizmo calms him down and Max sees how he's made Rocky afraid of him, he apologizes for being too rough on him, blaming himself for not keeping an eye on Rocky, and Rocky apologizes as well for making his friends worry about him.
- The Left Behind series have both God and Jesus who did not enjoy sending the Antichrist, the False Prophet, and the people who rejected Him to the Lake of Fire for eternity. This quote from Jesus sums this up:
Jesus: Like My Father, with whom I am One, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but justice must be served, and death is your sentence.
- In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Peter realizes that his berating of Edmund helped lead to the latter's betrayal. In the 2005 film version he says this phrase word for word.
- In the S.E. Hinton book The Outsiders, Darry cries to Ponyboy who was in the hospital, but Ponyboy comes to realize that Darry is acting hard with him throughout the story because he wants a future for him.
- Survivor Dogs: The Gathering Darkness: A Pack Divided has a young dog named Whisper who is a big Hero-Worshipper of Storm for killing off his cruel former alpha, Terror. But too much of it gets on Storm's nerve, so she bluntly (though understandably) tells him off and tells him to leave her alone. Then Whisper gets killed near the end of the book, and Storms ends up regretting being harsh with him, bitterly telling herself that she got what she wished for.
- Firestar from Warrior Cats: Midnight is upset that his daughter Squirrelpaw ran away because of what he said. When he realizes that he told her she wouldn't be a warrior if she kept meeting with Brambleclaw (who's from the same Clan but he's keeping them away for a slight reason), he blames himself.
- The prologue for Wings of Fire: Talons Of Power has King Gill be very furious at his son Turtle for not being there to protect his sisters (since his sisters had kept getting killed off by an enchanted statue of an older sister) and tells him that he is very "Disappointed in You". He realizes after snapping at him that he was too hard on him and plans on apologizing later, but he ends up getting captured by Queen Scarlet, so it's already too late to make up with Turtle.
- Dragnet: The final episode of the 1960s revival, "DHQ: The Victims," sees Sgt. Friday yell at a wet-behind-the-ears thinks-he's-seen-it-all rookie police officer after the officer makes an offhand comment about how his job is boring and he's ready for more advanced work. Friday really lays into him, telling him that his job is an essential part of the law enforcement process, that his superior officer is one of the best, and that he'd better find out what's going on because they're investigating a robbery where a woman was badly hurt. Friday's partner, Officer Gannon, overhears the exchange and tells him afterward that he thinks he was a bit rough. Friday, however, is unrelenting: In not so many words – he says only that the punks who took the old woman's purse went hard on her – he defends his remarks directed at the rookie officer as a sobering judgment on his attitude and that he'd better shape up quick or else he'll be ousted faster than it took him to dial the first number to phone the police academy saying he wanted to become an officer.
- ER's Peter Benton has a Heel Realization about this when his constant criticism of one of his interns doesn't result in the man buckling down and working harder to become a better doctor, it results in him killing himself because he can't take it anymore. Unfortunately, this doesn't make Benton any less of a bully.
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air hilariously played with this trope in the episode "Asses to Ashes" where Carlton, Hilary, and Ashley chewed out Will for (accidentally) killing Judge Robertson, figuring it would get him out of his funk. Then Will starts wailing like a little kid and the three are a bit shocked. This led to Carlton saying "I could be wrong."
- Full House:
- In the episode "Joey Gets Tough", Joey, who plays the Parental Substitute for Danny, asks Jesse about how D.J. feels after he grounded her for sneaking to karate class.
- Another example is when Jesse seems a bit hurt when both Nicky and Alex referred to him as a "mean daddy".
- In another episode, Jesse catches D.J. supposedly drinking beer at a school dance and is hard on her. After Stephanie tells the adults what really happened and D.J. had run off, Jesse feels bad for being harsh on D.J. and decides to go find her.
- Happy Days:
- One time, Ritchie's father threatens to make Fonzie pay for damages to his roof due to a pigeon house that the Fonz built on the roof. He admits later to his family that maybe he was too hard on Fonzie. Played with, in that Fonzie later decides to sue him.
- Fonzie was also one to dish it out as well ... and more than once was called out on it. One example was in the episode "Hot Stuff," where he is outraged and screams at Chachi when he learns that he had forgotten to turn off the grill, causing a fire that destroys Arnold's. Even though he (along with Potsie and Ralph) were trapped inside and had to be rescued during the fire and could have been killed, several of the others believe Fonzie went too far when he yelled at Chachi, who had said he was sorry and begged for forgiveness and — in the judgment of others — had sufficiently shown remorse and guilt.
- In "G.I. Jessie", after having a fallout with Jessie, J.W. Prescott realized that he was too hard on his daughter when he sees that she wasn't coming to his wedding, although she did show up in the end and apologized for what happened between them.
- In "Creepy Connie 3: The Creepening", Emma's boss Boomer fired her for leaving the place unattended when she left with Zuri and Bertram. However, Boomer realizes that he was too hard on Emma and rehired her.
- In the LazyTown episode "Zap It", Stephanie apologizes to Pixel for being harsh with him for creating the zapper device which makes everything invisible instead of disappearing.
- In MacGyver (1985) episode "Hell Week", a professor of Mac's former Alma Matter over-stresses his son to succeed, justifying it with the analogy that "pressure turns coal into diamonds". When the son eventually has a nervous breakdown over losing a contest (that another student had cheated at) and threatens the campus with a bomb, it makes the professor realize (coupled with Mac pointing out the flaw in his analogy that pressure can also crush coal) that he had pushed him too hard.
- Power Rangers:
- Near the end of Power Rangers Ninja Steel, Hayley harshly told Calvin off when he didn't show up to help her rehearse for an audition for a TV show, which turned out to be set up by Madame Odious, and she dumped him when he was being totally honest to her. However, after a conversation with Sarah, Hayley realized how wrong she was to be so hard on Calvin and regretted dumping him.
- Near the end of the first season of Power Rangers: Beast Morphers, Mayor Daniels discovers that Devon is the Red Ranger as this discovery got him to realized how much of a hard time he had given him. After witnessing him get kidnapped, Mayor Daniels did everything in his power to save Devon and set things right between them, which they did.
- This doubles with Why Did You Make Me Hit You? in the second season of Rescue Me where Sheila's lesbian lover beats her in a fit of jealous rage. After that, she comes to console her, saying "I'm sorry I was so rough with you, but sometimes you just make me so angry."
- In the episode "Her Boyfriend's Back," Dan gets mad at Becky after finding out that she and Mark took his motorcycle out for a joy ride without telling him, and he winds up giving her the silent treatment. It all comes to a head when Dan offers to make him and Darlene milkshakes and doesn't ask Becky, who was in the room with them, if she wanted one, which causes Becky to feel hurt and run to her room. Dan soon starts to realize that he was being too hard on Becky and goes to apologize to her.
- Roseanne herself went through this in "The Driver's Seat" after she violently strikes DJ for stealing the car and driving it into a ditch. It hits her pretty hard since it reminded her of how her own father use to beat her and she promised that she would never be like him.
- Voyagers!, "Voyagers of the Titanic". Bogg shoots a scathing remark at Olivia about her attempt to do things the way she thought best possibly costing them their only chance to cure Jeff. This, combined with her failure to save the Mona Lisa, sends her into a massive fit of self-doubt. Bogg, having calmed down, tries to reassure her but is unable to do so.
- Assassin's Creed: Odyssey: In the Legacy of the First Blade, the mother of a member of the Order of Ancients says this about her daughter, who is now a Dreaded and bad-tempered ship captain. She eventually tries a reconciliation, but years of brainwashing by a fanatical order means it doesn't go very well. Either mom gets stabbed by the Tempest's thugs, sending her into a mad rage, or the Tempest dies from her injuries in mom's arms.
- Inverted in the The Elder Scrolls backstory, where Iachesis was the Ritemaster of the Psijic Order, the oldest and most powerful Magical Society in Tamriel. One of his students, Vanus Galerion, revealed that another, Mannimarco, was practicing necromancy. Vanus expected Mannimarco to be executed or imprisoned, but was shocked when Iachesis opted to banish Mannimarco instead. His disillusionment led Vanus to leave the Psijic Order and start the Mages Guild, while Mannimarco went on to kill thousands in several incidents over the next two Eras and leave a dark Villainous Legacy.
- Fallout 4: If the player does several things that their companions disapprove of, they'll call off their friendship with you for a little while; if the player is in a romantic relationship, they'll break up. But once the player improves themselves to said companions, they'll tell the player that they were expecting too much from the player and apologize, reforming their friendship or relationship (and the player apologizes as well).
- In Final Fantasy VIII, Quistis tells Rinoa off for suggesting a risky plan for neutralizing the sorceress while Quistis and her fellow SeeDs are already in the midst of preparing the assassination they've been hired for. Shortly afterwards, she lets her worry that she might have been too harsh towards Rinoa prompt her to leave her post in an attempt to apologize - a poorly-considered emotional decision that leads to Quistis and her entire team getting locked in General Caraway's study (which was only supposed to lock in Rinoa, who'd already left) just as the mission is supposed to begin and barely making it back to their post in time.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in the past, King Rhoam Bosphoramus Hyrule, father of Princess Zelda, admits in his diary that he had been pushing his daughter too hard lately in her quests to unlock her holy powers. He cares for her deeply, but the understanding Calamity Ganon was likely to return pushed him to get her ready to fulfill her role in plan to take down Ganon. He then notes if her final trip to the last holy spring fails to awaken her power, he will lighten his pressure on her as she has done everything she could to unlock that power. Ganon struck the day of her return from the spring and never gave him a chance to reconcile with his daughter.
- The tragedy is that by forcing her into performing ceremonies and going to holy springs while also dismissing her interest in research and archaeology, he was the biggest obstacle to her unlocking her powers, since she carries the Triforce of Wisdom. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity shows that when Ganon's attack came, he ordered Link to drag her away while he and his remaining Royal Guard pulled off a You Shall Not Pass!.
- Shin Megami Tensei: Persona:
- In Persona 4, when the police have identified a suspect in the serial murders who, in reality, is only guilty of one copycat killing, teen detective Naoto Shirogane approaches the party, and says that their "game" of investigating the murder will soon be over, prompting Rise to angrily say that Naoto's the one playing a game. A month and a half later, at the fireworks festival and after the apparent suspect's arrest, the group brings up Naoto, and Rise says she regrets saying what she did, hoping to not part on bad terms with Naoto. Even later on, when Naoto reminds Rise of the earlier remark by denying that she considers it a game, either, Rise is horrified, believing that what she said caused Naoto to risk herself to lure out the true culprit.
- In Persona 5 Royal, the female Phantom Thieves admit that attacking Ryuji after he nearly died saving everyone was a dickish thing to do in one of the Thieves Den conversations. Futaba even wants to apologize to him.
- In World in Conflict, Col. Sawyer is emotionally distraught by the fact that he previously treated Capt. Bannon like crap (entirely justifiably, by the way), after Bannon pulls a You Shall Not Pass! on the Soviets and dies by nuke. This, along with general stress upon him, contributes to Sawyer making several strategic mistakes late in the campaign.
- In The World Ends with You, Shiki calls out her partner Neku for calling the idea of friendship worthless in Day 4 after their friend Rhyme gets eaten and erased by a Shark noise, which leaves her partner Beat doomed to erasure without Mr. Hanekoma's help. Then she realizes she was being harsh and apologizes to him. Her emotions at the time had caused her to come off as harsher than intended, and she realizes that in order to survive, she and her partner will have to be able to work together.
- RWBY: In the aftermath of the events of Volume 3, Jaune has been growing increasingly irritable and cynical towards Ozpin, expressing frustration with Qrow and suspicion that he was using Ruby as bait to draw out Salem's forces, and making occasional sarcastic comments about Ozpin's habit of toying with their understanding of the situation they're in. In Volume 6, his temper finally snaps when he learns the truth about what Ozpin has been hiding. He slams the fourteen-year-old Oscar into a wall, arguing that Oscar cannot be trusted because Ozpin might be able to secretly control him without their knowledge and accusing Oscar of helping Ozpin to hide information from them. His companions are horrified, especially as they only learned Ozpin's secret through Oscar's efforts to fight Ozpin for control over his own body. Later, Jaune is deeply remorseful and apologises to Oscar for his behaviour.
- In the episode "Trail of the Missing Tails" from Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic states he can't forgive himself for making Tails run away by scolding him for putting himself in danger of Dr. Robotnik's trap.
- Aladdin: The Series: In "To Cure a Thief", after Abu's kleptomania gets him in trouble with the Sultan, Aladdin snaps at him and threatens to put him on a leash. This makes an offended Abu storm off, while Jamsine chides him for being so rough.
Jasmine: I think you overdid it with the leash.
Aladdin: (scoffs) H-He'll be back.
(Abu throws his fez at him)
Genie: Oh, I don't know, Al. That's one mad monkey.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- In "Bato of the Water Tribe", Sokka snaps at Aang for hiding their father's map from him and Katara, and he decides to leave him to journey to the Northern Water Tribe alone. But after they split up and Bato reveals that he had been abandoned by his fleet, Sokka thinks that he was too hard on Aang and decides to go back.
- In "The Waterbending Scroll", after being fed up with Aang continuing to outshine her in her element, Katara flat-out snaps at him to shut up. When she sees him tearing up from the harsh scolding she gave him, she apologizes and gives him the scroll she had stolen from pirates, saying that she shouldn't keep it after how she acted.
- "The Chase" has Katara and Toph arguing a lot, with Aang trying to keep the peace. But when Toph accuses Appa of shedding his fur and leading the enemy to them, Aang gets offended and tells her to get lost. It turns out that Appa did indeed shed his fur a lot and was accidentally leading Azula to them, and Aang and Katara feel bad for being rude to Toph. Even Sokka tells them that they were acting like jerks.
- In Back at the Barnyard episode "Home Sweet Hole", Otis accidentally ruin Pip's mouse home and he tried living with his friends. However, Pip was harshly told to leave their homes and a misunderstanding has led him to run away from the barnyard. Realizing this, Otis and the others felt guilty for yelling at Pip then went looking for him in order to make things right with him, which they were able to do. After forgiving his friends, Pip was explained the misunderstanding he heard from his friends.
- In the episode "My Big Fat Alien Wedding" of Ben 10, Mr. and Mrs. Tennyson apologized to Camille for being tough on her, but this was due to them being against the wedding due to her being a sludgepuppy, which they despise. She instantly forgives them and accepts them into the family, though.
- Bob's Burgers: Bob Belcher Jr left his Control Freak father, Bob Belcher Sr, to start his own restaurant because he had grown tired of how controlling and dismissive his father got and refused to business partners with him for that very reason. Many years later, Bob would apologize, not for leaving but for how he handled it since his father never made him feel appreciated. It took years but Bob Sr finally admits that the passing of his wife made him difficult to be around and understands why Bob left.
- DuckTales (2017):
- Della has a few brushes with this:
- In "The Golden Armory of Cornelius Coot!", she gets upset at Launchpad for nearly endangering their lives by crashing into a mountain. After assuring Webby to be herself, Della realizes she was forcing the opposite to Launchpad and apologize to him.
- In "Timephoon!", she snapped at Louie for not only his quick rich scheme but also for endangering their family. After grounding him and having him go to his room, Della calmed down and hoped that she wasn't too hard on Louie, but Mrs. Beakley assured her it was for the best.
- Della has a few brushes with this:
- The Fairly OddParents!: At the end of the episode "Pipe Down", Timmy's Dad apologizes to Timmy for yelling at him for making the family lose to the Dinklebergs in a game of charades.
- Family Guy:
- In "North by North Quahog", Stewie asks this to Brian when he spanks Chris while acting as a Parental Substitute, despite that Chris was framed by a student for drinking vodka. Brian responds that he doesn't think so and Stewie says that he feels bad when they have to be strict.
- In "Peter's Two Dads", Stewie misbehaves and Lois spanks him for it, but then as soon as Stewie starts crying, Lois begins to feel terrible and starts to apologize, but Stewie runs from her.
- In "Peter's Lost Youth", Meg is left in charge of the house while Peter and Lois head to Boston. When Stewie threatens to defecate on the wall, Meg puts him on time out and gives him a harsh scolding, which led Stewie to run away from her. Later on, Meg is worried about Stewie's whereabouts and searches for him until Stewie eventually appears. Meg apologizes to Stewie and the two made up.
- In Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, after Mac gives Goo a not-so-nice speech, causing her to cry, he opens the gift she attempted to give him. He then feels bad about the things he said, and decides to comfort Goo by telling her she doesn't need to make a lot of imaginary friends to feel less lonely. This causes an excited Goo to glomp Mac happily.
- In the Futurama episode "The Mutants Are Revolting", Leela yells at Fry when she's banished to the sewers after he inadvertently revealed she was a mutant. She later remarks "Maybe I was too hard on him. He didn't ruin my life on purpose."
- In an episode of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983): Orko was scolded when he accidentally ruined Teela and Man-At-Arms' wedding anniversary gifts for the king and queen. Believing to be nothing but trouble, Orko ran away from the palace. However, after cleaning up with He-Man's help, Teela hoped that she and the boys weren't too hard on Orko.
- The Jetsons: In "Elroy's Mob", George sends Elroy to bed without supper for allegedly getting failing grades on his report tape (plus Astro, for defending him) despite his pleas that there had to have been a mistake with the tapes. Moments later, he gets a call from Mr. Countdown, the father of Elroy's classmate Kenny, who coerced his son into telling the truth that he had swapped his report tape with Elroy and has his straight-As. George naturally feels guilty, but when he goes to Elroy's room to apologize, he finds Elroy and Astro have run away.
George: Oh boy, I feel lower than a Martian midget.
- Kaeloo: Nearly every time Kaeloo beats someone up, no matter how much they deserved it, she still feels guilty about hurting them. However, Mr. Cat, the most frequent victim of her wrath, often assures her that it was his own fault that she beat him up.
- Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness:
- In "The Princess and the Po", Po, Tigress, and Mantis have to escort a bratty princess to a rendezvous, and she gets on even Po's nerves, though he tries being patient at first. When she starts blaming Tigress and Mantis for the bandits attacking, Po finally has had enough and tells her off hard, calling her out for her very bratty behavior during the trip. This causes her to cry, and Po starts feeling bad and apologizes for this later on, and she to him for behaving that way.
Po: (ashamed) Wow. In my mind, that was cooler.
Mantis: You spoke the truth, buddy. Worst mistake of your life, but I appreciate it.
- Tigress, who is still developing out of her icy persona from the first film, gets hit with this a few times throughout the series.
- One key example is in "Chain Reaction" where after dealing with Po's antics a whole mission and the topic of the Dragon Warrior coming back into discussion, she finally dishes an angry "The Reason You Suck" Speech over what an injustice it was he got chosen over her. Po dishes an understated one back and leaves, though still wastes no time rescuing her, leaving Tigress humbled. This act leads her to reconsider that maybe Oogway did make the right choice.
- In "Present Tense", Tigress is left dealing with a Genki Girl who is obnoxiously enthusiastic about the Winter Festival. Eventually, Tigress explodes at her, since she loathes the Winter Festival since she has no real family to celebrate with. Xiao Nao sadly responds she doesn't either, she only wanted to get into the spirit of things. Tigress immediately feels guilty.
Xiao Nao: You really don't think you have a family?
(Tigress glances lamentingly at Shifu and the Furious Five chatting among themselves)
- In "The Princess and the Po", Po, Tigress, and Mantis have to escort a bratty princess to a rendezvous, and she gets on even Po's nerves, though he tries being patient at first. When she starts blaming Tigress and Mantis for the bandits attacking, Po finally has had enough and tells her off hard, calling her out for her very bratty behavior during the trip. This causes her to cry, and Po starts feeling bad and apologizes for this later on, and she to him for behaving that way.
- In Legends of Chamberlain Heights, episode "Coach Fishy", the Legends capture a video of Coach Bundy scolding Randy from missing the hoop. That video gets Coach Bundy fired.
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
- Done similarly in the episode "Sisterhooves Social" after a fight with Sweetie Belle over causing problems including, among other things, using all her gems to make a picture, Rarity begins to dwell over this. The final nail in the coffin is when she finally looks at the picture Sweetie Belle made; her and her big sister inside a giant heart made of gems. Cue hammy My God, What Have I Done?.
- In "A Flurry of Emotions", Twilight Sparkle gets angry at her infant niece Flurry Heart for throwing a magical fit at the hospital and scolds her for going awry with her magical powers, causing Flurry to become terrified of her aunt. Immediately, Twilight realizes what she said and apologizes to Flurry, realizing she should have been more attentive to her.
- In the "King of the Hobos" episode of The Little Rascals, after Porky runs away, Darla suggests to the other boys that exiling him from the treehouse might have been too harsh a punishment for eating all of their food.
- This is the case of Arthur Puppington, father of Clay in Moral Orel, full stop. His near-use of corporal abuse following his wife Angela's death which he blames on his son, directly followed by him completely shunning him (declaring him not even worth hitting), leads Clay to see corporal punishment as a show of love, which ultimately leads Clay down an incredibly dark path that Arthur regrets by the events of "Beforel Orel", leading him to bond with his then 4-year-old grandson Orel.
- Phineas and Ferb:
- In "Dude, We're Getting the Band Back Together" where Phineas asks the lead singer of Love Handel, Danny, was he tough on the guy who wasn't playing the guitar properly. His response was "He'll be back when the spirit calls him!".
- In "Phineas and Ferb Get Busted", Lawrence tells Linda that they've been too hard on the boys after sending them to the Smile Away Reformatory School for engaging in their usual activities.
- In Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension, Phineas became angry and hurt when he finds out about Perry double life as a secret agent, although the platypus doesn't blame him for that as he knew he was gonna feel this way if he found out but felt guilty for not telling him or Ferb even more. However, seeing that Perry turned himself in just as he and Ferb were going back home, Phineas not only realize how wrong he was to be so hard on him but also decided to go rescue him from 2nd dimension Dr. Doofenshmirtz. Seeing his efforts in rescuing him and willing to go through great lengths to help him, Perry forgives Phineas.
- In Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel, after accidentally ruining a machine to temporarily duplicate the lost powers for the super heroes, Candace and Phineas had a little argument as she feels that she should't help him. After Phineas agreed what his sister said, Candace instantly regretted for saying that and decided to help fix her mistake, much to his surprises and appreciation. However, Candace accidentally made things from bad to worse and Phineas snapped at her. Although they knew how harsh Phineas was to Candace, everyone decided to just keep focuses and know they'll work things out. After Candace found where the lost powers for the super heroes were, Phineas apologizes to his sister as he realize that he really lost it and she was just trying to help, which she accepts and apologizes to him for messing up as he accepts her as well.
- In Candace Against the Universe, when Phineas, Ferb, and their friends arrive to save Candace from the aliens, Candace ends up rejecting them and the gift they made for her, telling them she's finally where she belongs and that they're the reason for her misery back on Earth. After her brothers and their friends are sent away, Candace starts to wonder if she had been too hard on them, since they came all the way to bring her back home, but Super Super Big Doctor assures she did the right thing. Later, after seeing how her brothers still kept coming to save her despite all she did, Candace finally breaks down in Tears of Remorse.
- Played to its most poignant tee in the Pinky and the Brain Christmas Special. After Brain repeatedly chews out Pinky for ignoring their plan for his Christmas letter, driving Pinky to tears, he eventually reads the letter out of curiosity, to find it is a touching speech about his 'best friend in the world, the Brain' that asks Santa to give all of Pinky's gifts to him, since he never gets the reward he deserves. While he does not mention this trope, the emotional exchange makes it very clear how he feels.
- Popeye: The titular sailor feels a bit guilty for spanking Swee'pea, who ran away because of it.
- In The Powerpuff Girls episode "Twisted Sister", the girls scold Bunny for breaking criminals out of jail instead of helping them, causing Bunny to fly away crying.
Blossom: Do you think we were too hard on her?
(The girls see the criminals Bunny freed surrounding them)
Criminals: Not as hard as we're gonna be on you! (cue No-Holds-Barred Beatdown)
- Ren has occasional moments of this concerning Stimpy in The Ren & Stimpy Show.
- Rugrats: In "Runaway Angelica", Drew punishes Angelica for making a mess of his office and somehow turning his fax machine into a paper doll machine by sending her to her room. And feels proud of it. Charlotte asks Drew if he was too hard on her, and he responds that Angelica is mature enough to handle the discipline. Or so he thinks.
- The Simpsons:
- In "Bart vs. Thanksgiving", after Bart runs away after being sent to his room, Homer and Marge feel this way when explaining to the police what happened.
- In "Mona Leaves-A", Homer gets mad at his mother Mona for always leaving him to go on and calls her a horrible mother. Later that night, Homer feels bad about what he said and decides to make a card for her, only to find she died later that night.
- Sponge Bob Squarepants:
- In "Fools In April", Squidward, who was really irritated with SpongeBob's April Fools pranks, realizes how much of a jerk he is for making him cry with the nasty prank he set up.
- In "Whatever Happened to SpongeBob?", Gary, Patrick, Squidward, Sandy, and Mr. Krabs all bluntly told Spongebob to get lost when he accidentally ruin what they had or interrupted. However, they ended up feeling guilt-ridden, minus Squidward, when they find out he has run away because of this later on.
- In "Gary's New Toy", SpongeBob was hoping that Gary isn't upset with him when he restrains him from constantly chewing on his new red ball.
- In the Super Mario World episode "Born to Ride", Princess Toadstool gets mad at Mario and Luigi for scolding Yoshi for eating the bamboo pipes they were using to get indoor plumbing into the cave.
- Steven Universe:
- When Steven takes Peridot's escape pod for a joy ride after the conclusion of the Ocean Gem arc and gets in trouble with the Gems, the Cool Kids defend him to the Gems by reminding them that Steven's just a kid, explaining how badly the Gem War stuff is negatively impacting him, and that they convinced him to take the pod because they just wanted him to have fun. Pearl admits that they've been placing too much burden on him, and the Gems restore his TV privileges.
- At the end of "Reformed", Garnet says she had been too hard on Amethyst when the latter stays in her gem for an unusually long period of time, since she scolded her for not taking her regeneration seriously.
- This is the catalyst for Blue Diamond's Heel Realization. Steven convinces her that punishing Pink whenever she wanted to express herself is what drove a wedge between their family and led to Pink faking her own death.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012):
- In "Target: April O'Neil", April, who has been holding a grudge against the Turtles for accidentally mutating her father to a bat in "The Mutation Situation", brushed off Donnie's attempts to fix things between them and tells him to leave but did take a second to hear him say that some things are beyond anyone's control. While hanging out with Casey and hearing him say the same thing Donnie said, April not only thinks about their advices but also regretted her actions towards the Turtles. When the Foot Clan attack, April realized that Donnie and Casey were right that some situations can't be control as she calls the Turtles for help. Also, during the fight, April tells the rest of the Turtles to not be so rough on Donnie because she could have been kidnapped if he hadn't answered her call for help. After the Foot Clan retreated, April thanks the Turtles for saving her and apologizes to them for her behavior, especially Donnie.
- In "The Croaking", Mikey ran away from home when his brothers and Casey harshly scolded him when he made a mess while he was watching one of his favorite T.V. shows. Later, April told the boys how total jerks they were to Mikey while cleaning up his mess. Realizing this, the boys decided to find Mikey as they not only want to bring him home but also to make amends with him. After reuniting with everyone and seeing how truly sorry his brothers along with Casey were, Mikey forgives them for being so hard on him as he returns with them.
- In the We Bare Bears episode "Charlie Ball", Charlie becomes a jerk when it comes to basketball, and Grizz tries his hardest to keep his temper. But when Charlie insults Panda, Grizz bluntly kicks him off the team. He does feel bad about being hard on the Sasquatch, though, and Panda and Ice Bear tell him he did the right thing.
- In Part 1 of The Wild Thornberrys special "The Origin of Donnie", Eliza harshly scolds Donnie for inadvertently putting some proboscis monkeys in danger of getting eaten by a crocodile, telling him she's never taking him anywhere again. She immediately regrets it, especially when Donnie goes missing afterwards.
Eliza: I was pretty mean to Donnie, wasn't I?
Darwin: Just going by the yelling sounds, I'd have to say... yes.
- In Xiaolin Showdown episode "The Last Temptation of Raimundo", Raimundo was forced to use Shen Gong Wu during a time that he can't because Jack and Wuya caused a lava flow in his hometown. When his friends find out, Raimundo was said hurtful things from them as they assumed that he used Shen Gong Wu for his own fun and didn't believe his story, except for the last part of it. Despite everyone frustrations, Master Fung reminded everyone that they should't be so hard on Raimundo. However, through Dojo, they realize that Raimundo was telling the truth and they not only felt guilty for not believing him but also for being hard on him. After finding him and saving him from Wuya when she took control of his Shen Gong Wu body, the rest of the monks apologize to Raimundo for being hard on him and not believing his noble intentions, which he accepts.